Apple Fans in Asia Get Hands on New iPhone

Posted September 21st, 2012 at 2:45 am (UTC-5)
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Apple fans in Asia became the first to get their hands on the long-awaited iPhone 5, the U.S. technology giant's latest smartphone that goes on sale in stores across the globe Friday.

Eager customers formed long lines outside stores in Australia and Japan to become the first in the world to purchase the new phone. In downtown Sydney, some fans waited outside the store for three days ahead of the release. In Hong Kong, Apple staff chanted “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” and high-fived customers as they were escorted into the store one-by-one.

Those already camped out in front of stores in the United States, Britain, Canada, France, and Germany will be able to buy the phones later Friday.

Though it initially received lukewarm reviews, Apple says there has been record demand for the iPhone 5. It received more than 2 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours after being unveiled – double the figures for the previous version. Analysts expect Apple to sell as many as 10 million of the new phones by the end of September.

The new device is taller, lighter, slimmer, and has a bigger screen than its predecessor. It can also operate on faster mobile networks.

Meanwhile, Apple's rival, Samsung Electronics, moved to put a damper on the iPhone's debut. The South Korea-based company said Friday it planned to add the iPhone 5 to a patent infringement case as part of a long-running global legal battle between the rival tech giants.

Apple and Samsung are involved in a series of patent disputes spread across four continents. They are battling for dominance in a smartphone industry estimated to be worth more than $200 billion last year.